Melissa Gilbert (Actress) as Laura Ingalls - Little House on the Prairie
Melissa Gilbert 1
Updated: 9/10/09

Name: Melissa Gilbert

Born: May 8, 1964, Los Angeles, California

Claim To Fame: Gilbert is best known as a child actress who co-starred as Charles Ingalls's (played by Michael Landon) second daughter, Laura Ingalls, on the dramatic television series Little House on the Prairie (1974?1984).

Family Life: She has been married to actor Bruce Boxleitner since 1985. They have a son, Michael Garrett Boxleitner, named in honor of Michael Landon. She has a son, Dakota, from her previous marriage to Bo Brinkman. Gilbert is also stepmother to Boxleitner's two sons from a previous marriage, Sam (b. 1980), and Lee (b. 1985).

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Info: Gilbert had already appeared in dozens of commercials before she tried out for the role of Laura Ingalls for NBC's 2-hour pilot of the book Little House on the Prairie. Michael Landon instantly loved her, and she beat out 500 other child actresses for the part. She stayed with the show from 1974-1984, and became very close to the Landon family when her adoptive father died.

Since the late 1970s, she has starred in over 45 television movies and mini-series. She starred as Jean Donovan in the biopic Choices of the Heart (1983), and as Anna Sheridan in three episodes of Babylon 5 with husband Bruce Boxleitner in 1996. In 2006, she appeared as Shari Noble in a season 4 episode of Nip/Tuck.

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Trivia: Granddaughter of Harry Crane.

Had a highly publicized relationship with Rob Lowe during the eighties and were supposedly engaged.

Adopted sister of Sara Gilbert.

Goddaughter of Charlie Brill.

Sister of actor Jonathan Gilbert.

Dated Tom Cruise when both were teenagers.

Was introduced to present husband, Bruce Boxleitner, by his ex-wife, Kathryn Holcomb.

Was one of 500 young girls who auditioned for the role of Laura Ingalls Wilder in the TV series "Little House on the Prairie" (1974) and she was the only one whose screen test was sent to be considered at NBC Studios.

Went to her senior prom with Michael Landon Jr. in 1981.

Inducted (as a cast member of "Little House on the Prairie" (1974)) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1998.

Ranked #31 in VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Kid Stars"

Adopted daughter of Paul Gilbert and Barbara Cowan.

Aunt of Sara Gilbert's son Levi and daughter Sawyer.

regularly keeps in contact with her friend Alison Arngrim, who played her nemesis Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie.

Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985. She is one of the youngest actresses to have been honored with a star.

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Where Are They Now: She served two terms as President of the Screen Actors Guild, from 2001-2005.

In 2009, she began playing the role of Caroline "Ma" Ingalls in a musical adaptation of Little House on the Prairie. The show will run through October 19 and is rumored to go on tour and potentially Broadway. A 30-city national tour was announced for 2009?10.

On June 9, 2009 her autobiography Prairie Tale: A Memoir was released.

Write To Melissa Gilbert:
Melissa Gilbert
Post Office Box 57593
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403


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